King Charles III: A Man in Desperate Need of the Gospel of the King

How the Coronation of King Charles III points us to the King of kings.

by Jessica Turpin on May 11, 2023

The Brits are masters of pomp and ceremony. May 6, 2023, saw the historic coronation of King Charles III; for many of us, this was the first coronation we had ever seen, since his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, was crowned almost 70 years ago on June 2, 1953, before most people alive today were born.

King Charles III returning to Buckingham Palace in his royal carriage.

People visited London from all over the world to witness the spectacle of the new king’s crowning, the golden “Cinderella” coach, the stunning grey horses, the 9,000 members of the British Armed Forces on display, the priceless diamonds in the scepter, orb, and crown, the impeccably dressed royal family, and the Red Arrows.

However, I also suspect many believers wrestled with the discrepancy between an exterior show of Christian worship and the disingenuousness of the individuals who participated in the ceremony. How are we to weigh such events? Perhaps this is simply a matter of giving thanks for the good while acknowledging the bad.

Glimpses of Heaven

When Pilate nailed the “King of the Jews” sign on the cross of Christ, he intended to mock the Jewish people. Yet, however much his words were written in scoffing, the truth of what he wrote could not be avoided: Christ is the King of the Jews. God can be glorified even in unbelieving speech.

In like manner, while we cannot necessarily assume that the words of the ceremony were spoken by God’s children, we can be thankful that the eyes of the world were lifted to our heavenly Father, nonetheless, and that God is able to use a crooked stick.

The entire ceremony holds a higher king in view, and we are to see the human king in reference to the Creator by whom kingdoms rise and fall (Daniel 2:21).

The coronation is explicitly Christian in content. It is the consecration of a king and a contract—the swearing of an oath on the Bible about governing the country according to the laws passed in parliament. The entire ceremony holds a higher king in view, and we are to see the human king in reference to the Creator by whom kingdoms rise and fall (Daniel 2:21).

Towards the start of the service, as has been the tradition since the coronation of William and Mary in 1689, the king was presented with a Bible as a gift, together with the words:

Sir, to keep you ever mindful of the law and the Gospel of God as the rule for the whole life and government of Christian Princes, receive this Book, the most valuable thing that this world affords. Here is Wisdom, this is the royal Law, there are the lively Oracles of God.

The king placed his hand on the Bible and took an oath promising to “maintain the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel” as well as to “preserve inviolably the settlement of the Church of England, and the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government thereof . . . .” He also declared himself to be a faithful Protestant.

The Hindu prime minister then read from Colossians 1, concluding with “This is the Word of the Lord.”

The anointing itself was clearly scriptural in basis, hearkening back to the anointing of Solomon by Zadok, the priest, and Nathan, the prophet. Handel’s song “Zadok the Priest,” played at this point in the service, references the events of 1 Kings 1:34–35:

Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anointed Solomon king.
And all the people rejoiced and said:
God save the king! Long live the king! God save the king!
May the king live for ever. Amen. Hallelujah.1

Take a moment to read through the order of service: you will note theme after theme and hymn after hymn that glorifies our heavenly Father, and we must pray that the eyes of the millions watching were turned heavenward by the witness of the godly men who first penned the words of the coronation.

Hypocrisy and Unbelief

We can praise God for the wording of the coronation ceremony. Yet, those of us British believers who have any knowledge of the royal family and the Anglican church were probably cringing in part at the hypocrisy and inconsistency of men who live lives without reference to the Lord and still publicly presume to petition him.

I doubt I was the only one uncomfortable with the fact that Camilla was crowned queen (the wives of kings can be queen consorts, while the husbands of reigning queens, such as Prince Philip, do not become king consort because kings rank higher than queens). I am old enough to remember the very public adulterous affair between Camilla and Charles that rent a marriage asunder and left two young boys in a broken home. Only a few generations ago, King Edward VIII was forced to abdicate over his inappropriate relationship with the divorced Wallis Simpson; Charles was the first divorced king since Henry VIII. It was also extremely poignant to see Prince Harry, Charles’ second son, seated on the third row and leaving immediately after the ceremony to return to his wife—testimony to a broken family relationship that reflects the experience of thousands upon thousands of families who inhabit this land. I know that the Lord holds all these things in view, and I pray that he will extend the same mercy and forgiveness to the royal family that he extended to me.

There is a discrepancy between the words King Charles professes and his known views on faith. He promised to be a faithful Protestant but embraced the heresy of universalism,2 when all true Protestants acknowledge that there is only one true way to Christ (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). King Charles also partook of communion, while Paul, in his first epistle to the Corinthians, declares that the Lord’s supper is only for those who believe (1 Corinthians 11:17–34). The cognitive dissonance screams out to the children of Christ but reminds us to pray for our king (1 Timothy 2:1–2).

The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who presided over the coronation, is the chief bishop of a church that is on the point of splitting, as true believers withdraw themselves from his authority. It is easy to see the slippery slope into heresy that has been marked by the ordaining of female vicars in 1992 (1 Timothy 2:12–14), allowing the remarriage of divorcees in 2002, including those who initiated the process, contrary to 1 Corinthians 7:12-13 (a step which directly allowed Charles III to marry Camilla and remain an Anglican in good standing), and now the blessing of same-sex marriage (Matthew 19:4–6).

We Reap What We Sow

As a nation, the UK has all but abandoned Christ and his Word. We have reaped a king who does not understand the uniqueness of Christ and an archbishop who despises the very Word of God. But there is still a faithful remnant.

During the coronation week, hundreds of missionaries from across the world descended on London to testify to the King of kings.

During the coronation week, hundreds of missionaries from across the world descended on London to testify to the King of kings. Living Waters ministry printed 16 million “coronation millions” tracts, most of which were distributed in London during the coronation. Evangelists noted a particular openness to receiving this unique gospel tract. Such was the thoroughness and faithfulness of Christians having compassion on the city, just as Jesus had compassion on the city of Jerusalem, that few hands were left without a gospel tract!

  • Simon Turpin (AiG-UK) being interviwed by Living Waters in London

    AiG–UK’s Simon Turpin being interviewed by Living Waters

  • Neil Seeds (AiG-UK) sharing the gospel in London

    AiG–UK’s Neil Seeds sharing the gospel in London.

  • Members of Living Waters team handing out tracts in London

    Members of the Living Waters team handing out tracts in London.

May the seeds of the gospel, sown in faith, reap a mighty harvest of righteousness.

Please pray for the UK. Pray for awakening and revival and that it might come soon.

England [the United Kingdom] is an island encompassed by two oceans, an ocean of water, and an ocean of wickedness. O that it might be encompassed by a third ocean, that of repenting tears.3
Jessica Turpin is married to Simon Turpin, executive director of AiG–UK, and home educates their seven children using the Christian classical method. She has a BA in modern European languages and a BA in biblical and intercultural studies. She writes about Christian home education on her Facebook page. She and her husband, Simon, also run a website to encourage home educators at


  1. See
  2. The King's Christmas Broadcast 2022 | The Royal Family,” December 25, 2022,
  3. Thomas Watson, The doctrine of repentance, useful for these times by Tho. Watson (London: R.W. for Thomas Parkhurst, 1668), 84–85.


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